Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel says his best season yet can be attributed to the wise words of former Anfield star Sami Hyypia.
"Sami Hyypia was a great player and also a nice person. He always tried to talk to me and explain things that I could change on the pitch."
The 26-year-old Slovakian international was an ever-present for the Reds in the Barclays Premier League this campaign, and reflects positively on a year of personal progression.
"It's probably been my best season, because I have played every single game," said Skrtel. "But it would have been better if the results had been better.
"When I came here, a lot of people talked about the way I play, and many said I didn’t have the quality to play for Liverpool – I was determined to prove them wrong."
After moving to Anfield from Russian outfit Zenit St Petersburg for £6.5million in January 2008, Skrtel endured a difficult start to his Reds career after sustaining a series of injuries.
His 2008/09 campaign was disrupted with persistent knee troubles, and a broken metatarsal cut short the following season, but Skrtel has rediscovered his form to establish himself as an integral part of Kenny Dalglish's side.
Reflecting on Dalglish’s January arrival, Skrtel believes Liverpool now have the right man in place, to return the club to its former glories.
"In his first meeting with the team Kenny said to us that we had to trust him and trust ourselves.
"He gave us confidence. He is a great man, a nice person, who tries to talk to us all the time."